Thursday, August 14, 2014

Three Germans at Kenwood

Photo taken by Richard Hall appeared in Bravo magazine

Photo taken by Richard Hall
I have always been amazed by this story about the fan who met John at Kenwood and when she asked him for something to remember the trip, he handed her this award.  So I posted a more cropped version of the above photo on tumblr (and later found this better at the Kenwood page)  with just one sentence saying how she got this award from John just because she asked.  I had a great response and I wanted to share some of what else I learned. 

First of all, a reader named Manuela from Germany was kind enough to translate the story from Bravo magazine: (a BIG thank you to Manuela for translating this for us! Let's hear it for Manuela!  Hip hip hooray!)

"During my visit in England, there was that idea in my head, to meet John at his house in Weybridge. An it worked for me! Finding his house wasn't not really easy. Together with my friend, another girl, we finally found after an half hour later in an extensive park-like area. And then I spotted John. He stood in a room behind a curtain and shaved himself.
But there was a problem, how to enter his house? It was a hard piece of work to persuade the housekeeper, letting us in. 
I was introduced as "Renate from Germany" to John. 
With a "How are you?" he shook my hand. With my eyes on his long uncombed hair I jokingly asked him, if he washed it sometimes.
After that John answered: "I just washed my face!" 
My friend asked for a souvenir gift, whereupon John gave her a bronze statue as gift.
In parting, he escorted us to the front door.
For me it was an unforgettable meeting with that famous "mushroom head" (so the Germans called the Beatles ... mushroom heads, because of their hairstyles)

Then Beatlesneveroutofstyle posted that she actually met Maureen (the girl receiving the award) and her husband, Richard (who took the photos) in New York City and talked to them for 45 minutes!  This is in part what she had to say about their memories:

 The first story they told me, was how on this day when they knocked on the door, Julian was holding onto John’s leg. Maureen remembers how Julian was trying to push in front of John to see who he was talking too, and John was VERY protective of Julian and kept pushing Julian back behind him so he would be in front. They both remember very vividly of how fatherly John was. They also told me the whole time John had his eye on Julian and made sure he was okay…watching him very closely.  They said they could tell he was a very loving father.

And lastly, I found the story again from our friends over at the Kenwood blog.   I am sure Sean won't mind if I share a snippet of the story that he got directly from Richard Hall.  

Maureen said to him "Would it be possible for me to have a souvenir of our visit please?". O.K. he said as he turned and went back into the house. I said to Maureen - You must be joking - The man has given us his time - what more could you want to remind you of this day? I won't forget today for as long as I live. You know, said Maureen - he might give me an ash tray, a tea cup, a saucer, an empty flower vase - something small just to remember him by. The Mind boggles was all I could say. John returned from the house holding a small bronze statuette which he gave to Maureen, saying 'Would you like this? As Maureen took the statuette from him I could clearly see the word
V E L L O inscribed around the base. Maureen let me hold the statue and I saw that the base had the inscription A N I V O R N O V E L L O A W A R D inscribed around it. There was a small metal plate with the inscription 'John Lennon' She's Leaving Home 1967' I held the statue out to him and said - Lennon - you can't give her this - you won this for your music - it's yours - you should keep it. He took the statue from me and gave it back to Maureen - 'Look, he said - it's only gathering dust inside the house and if she would like it - let her keep it" Maureen clasped the statue to her and there was no way she was going to part with it - it was hers. Thank you, Thank you John she said. I then took a photo of Maureen and John together with him handing the statue to Maureen.

What ever became of the award?   It was sold at Bonham's auctions in 2010.   The sale price is no longer available online, but it was expected to go for $25,000-$33,000 USD.


  1. THANK YOU for posting an eyewitness account of how John was actually a loving father to Julian! I'm so sick of hearing about how awful he supposedly was. We all know he wasn't the perfect father, but he wasn't the horrible monster some people would have you believe. Funny about the bronze statue too. How adorably quirky John was.

  2. Lovely story, I had read it before but had to read it again. I also remember Julian hiding behind his dad's legs: he was very shy! I remember giving him something (either a small toy or chocolate) and John saying to him "What do you say, Julian?" and Julian saying "Thank you!", but he was still glued to his daddy's legs and being very shy. I always asked John about Julian when I saw him outside EMI. I never, ever, got the impression that he was a bad father. I recently read somewhere that if John had been a model father there wouldn't have been The Beatles. If you read the schedule they had those days, it's scary! What a great idea to ask John for a souvenir: I never thought of that! I was gathering courage to ask him for his sheepskin jacket, whenever he got sick of it. I never got around to asking, and he and Yoko gave all his clothes to charity and started wearing white. I don't remember this girl, Renate, nor Maureen. I remember a Renate from Germany, but it's not this girl, since I have photos of the other Renate, who also went by Rena. Again, lovely story, thanks for posting, and thanks to Manuela for the translation.

  3. Is the Novello

  4. Same day?

    1. I don't think it is the exact same day...but close! John isn't wearing the huge medallion necklace thing in those photos. What does everyone else think?

  5. You accept that comment but not mine about the real story. Don't want to be seen giving wrong information I see. Just gives mclennon lovers more fans since she does research and gives the right information.

    1. I told Mark Lewisohn about your comment. Does that count?

      Oh my goodness...I could really go off on this, but I won't because I was just around some wonderful Beatle fans that appreciate me.

      If Maureen asked for the souvenir (which I have found 2 different sources that said that she did including her husband's first hand account and her friend who wrote the story immediately after it occurred) or if John just volunteered to give it to her really matter? In the end the bottom line was that John gave away his award to a fan.

      Please do not say that I do not give the right information. Do you visit this blog?

      By the way---I HATE anonymous posts. Who are you???

  6. Heres the award on the Bonhams site. It was for ' She Loves You' and not 'She' Leaving Home', unless its a different one?

      This is the one he gave away to Maureen. Thanks Lewis for the link. :)

  7. Hi I have photo of John Lennon giving the award to maureen Hall and wondering if I should get it insured do you know what it's worth please

    1. Do you own the copyright to the photograph? I have a lot of rare Beatles photos in my collection and I do not have any of them insured. If you have the original print of the photo with copyright, it would be worth up to $300. If you just own a print made from the original negative, it would be worth about $40 and if you just own a photo it would be worth $5.